Monday, May 21, 2007

A Week O' Busy

I arrived in Ohio Wednesday night and it's been an adventure every step of the way. From Bidwell, where I was the houseguest of Kendra Ward and Bob Bence to Coshocton, where all manner of interesting things began happening, including my first mountain dulcimer competition at The 33rd Annual Roscoe Village Dulcimer Days.

Mike Oliver of Ohio and Bing Futch of Florida picked up first place in the Mountain Duet competition while Doug and Gary Felt of Ohio picked up second. Judy and Bob Durham of West Chester won third place. - Coshocton Tribune

By the way, the paper made a mistake - that's Doug Felt and Gary Sager who were the second-place winners.

I also placed first in the mountain dulcimer vocal competition and second in the open competition, which was a mind-blower, considering who else participated. I'm still scratching my head over that one.

I've stayed with Jerry Rockwell and helped him get his new podcast up and running. I've met Marty and Don, owners of Wildwood Music (and couldn't resist picking up my fifteenth mountain dulcimer while I was there - named her "Marty"), I've played "Lee's Waltz", "Mississippi Sawyer" and "Wellyn" with Doug Felt and talked about Ireland with Lee Felt of Thistledew Acres. I've discussed the issues of TablEdit and the merits of margaritas with Sue Carpenter and the list of wonderful people I've met and visited with goes on and on - literally, a who's who of folk musicians. It's almost overwhelming - but everyone is so down-to-earth and nice!

I've also conducted a couple of radio interviews/in-studio performances that I'll have posted when I get the CDs. One was with 91.3 The Summit for the program "Just Plain Folk" which can be heard over the airways and streaming live on Tuesday May 22nd from 8-10 pm ET. I was a special guest of the program along with Bill Schilling, founder and organizer of Dulci-More 13, where I'll be performing and teaching this coming weekend.

The other was a live spot for WFCO 90.9 FM in Lancaster this morning at 8:30 a.m., which will be repeated at 5:30 p.m. this evening. This spot was to promote the workshop and concert that I'm doing tonight here in town.

I'll have a little time off this week to chill and relax with my good friends Denny and Rose in Medina before capping off the trip with Dulci-More 13. As amazing as this trip to Ohio is - I still get the delightful pleasure of returning home to my lovely wife Jae, and then driving down to Key West for our 3rd wedding anniversary. Talk about how sweet it is.

At some point, I'll get all of this great video up on The Dulcimerica Video Podcast, but I've been simply too on-the-go to settle down with the laptop, so be watching for new episodes later this week. Thanks to all the amazing people I've met, and to my hosts and hostesses for being so wonderful - this has been some kind of ride!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Looking Forward and Backward

What a crazy couple of weeks this has been! After the fair show, it all seemed to throw into super-overdrive as I stared down the barrel of a deadline to get things done before heading up to Ohio. There's been the matter of keeping on top of songbook shipping and then the finalizing of the companion CD, along with making accomodational arrangements for the journey (accomodational? does that word exist?) This trip is going to be a blast and I'm really looking forward to enjoying every moment. I'll be shooting lots of video and cutting it together on the road via The Dulcimerica Video Podcast, so be watching this week for updates.

As much as this is about looking forward - funnily enough, this trip has inspired a good look back at where I've been musically. See, back in the day, I was part of a Christian post-punk trio called Crazed Bunnyz that saw a lot of action on college radio and in underground print zines, and strangely enough, many folks remember this band and its music. The trio consisted of myself on vocals and guitar, Sean "Shaka" Harrison on vocals and Marc "Gadget" Plainguet on synth bass and vocals. It was a joke band, really - with only one live show to our credit - that got started with a four-song demo made in Marc's garage. Somehow, we managed to make enough of a splash in the Christian music scene where people, to this day, fondly remember and still play our music. That's very, very wild to me.

Regardless of being a Christian band or not - I was still a little rough around the edges back in those days and there was some friction between Marc and I. After he left the group and we both enjoyed solo careers, there was much carping back and forth in interviews about this and that. Thankfully, years later, I contacted Marc and we put it all behind us - in fact, we're planning on meeting up in Ohio next week for the first time since we parted ways. I'm really looking forward to it, and so apparently, is he.

This all began a little Googling to see what folks were saying, if anything, about Crazed Bunnyz and it really did my heart good to find some interesting stuff, including this post on the Arts and Faith forum. Also, a fellow named Tim who runs the Christian New Wave blog is planning a write-up on Crazed Bunnyz and said in an e-mail: "Crazed Bunnyz was ahead of it's time and was totally cutting edge during those days. I love the group and was dissapointed that you guys didn't took off with a major record deal. Your group made Steve Taylor and Bill Mallonee's controversies over their lyrics tame. That was really radical! : ) "

Talk about mind-blowing and a blessing - for a musician, it really does your heart a well of good to know that what you did was appreciated and has some kind of longevity. Here, over twenty years later, it's really wonderful to know.

And now - if you can stand it - check out this little trip through the past in pictures:

Me and Marc from our "Nutty Faith" days - circa 1985

From left to right - Phil Poole (drummer), Craig Cook (guitarist) and yours truly - Johnny Quest - from 1987

No joke - the duo was called "The Bing And I" - Tony Karaa and The Bing - 1989.

Okay - I feel kinda old here. But lovin' life. I'm heading out for Ohio in the morning - will check in again soon!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Fun At The Fair!

The fair was a blast! What a great time; thanks to everyone who came out - there were folks from and people from my dulcimer group. There were longtime fans and friends and lots of new faces in the audience. What a lot of people don't realize is that this was the first time that Roger, Mark, Kristi and I had ever performed in public together, which just goes to show how professional and awesome these cats are.

I will upload some more pics and video - right now, I'm trying to get over a cold that had just begun to settle in on gig day, and the day after was no picnic on a sandy beach, lemme tell ya. I'm a real snot-fest at the moment, so when I'm feeling better, there will be some more visuals and audio as well. Thanks to John of Beedle Promotions , Sarah and Becky for coming out and showing love and support, taking pictures and being cool as they can be. Here's a shot of us all hanging out between sets:

Again, just a real sweet time. More to come and thanks again! Aloha!